Last month, I headed out with Exhumed for a tour of Latin America. I’ve already played Mexico a bunch, but this would be the first tour for me, and Exhumed, to head even further South… right down to where the toilet water spins the other direction (lies… it doesn’t). We had just finished recording a new album, literally hours before we got on a plane at LAX to our first stop in Monterrey.
This was the first time I had a dude with a sign waiting to pick me (and the boys) up. It was momentous. It would get tiresome. So… many… flights. We also had some tigers show up to take photos of us. How did they know what flight we were on? Even the promoters couldn’t explain. This would become a frequent occurrence throughout Latin America.
Our band recently had the amazing opportunity to go on tour for nearly two months as direct support for the Scumdogs of the Universe, GWAR. This came with some strings attached, however. No, we didn’t have to service Blothar’s dick-teats, that was voluntary. Instead, a couple of us would be pressed into service for our lords and masters. I was one of those: the shameless, the stepped-on, the slaves of GWAR.
For two months, we would play a show, furiously load our gear out in snow, rain, or heat, and then three of us would run back inside to don a more revealing pair of skivvies and monster shoes. To say it was rewarding would be one way to describe. The other would be grueling.
I didn’t really manage to keep a good tour diary on this last European tour… call it lack of motivation, call it the ability to download and watch TONS of films from Netflix on my phone. Either way, I still feel the need to put something down before it ebbs from aging and already addled mind: at least to learn a few lessons. Yeah, we made some mistakes on this tour, but fuck it; it really was one of the most easy going tours I’ve ever done with a crew that managed 0% slacking and 100% laughter.
There’s no real need for tour stories here; we all had a good time with relatively few crazy adventures. Most of the tour stories would just be us talking about old cartoons or cult movies while imbibing lots of alcohol. So let’s try a list of errors we made and how to correct them.
We finished up our tour with Carcass and Crowbar on the East Coast, so we and Night Demon had a string of shows in order to get back to California. Originally we had wanted to go to Cleveland (sorry guys) but we ended up in Webster, NY, at some old Mason hall or church or whatever… I don’t know. It was near Rochester, and even the few folks from Rochester were like, “Webster?” But whatever, the people who did show up were the right people and had a rocking good time.
We had to drive all night, again, but were set to hit Chicago and one of the best venues in the United States, Reggie’s Rock Club. The staff lead by Edgar is fucking on point, the food at the attached bar is great, they have laundry, a back room, but most importantly, they have insane Chicagoans who know how to rock the fuck out. Easily it bested any of the previous nights on tour… the ENTIRE tour.
We traveled from Memphis onto New Orleans. Siberia is an awesome punk club, but the way the stage is configured negated a bit of our show. That’s okay, this crusty-laden crowd is always friendly to us and the show was another rager. Once again, I think these fans were cleaner after we showered them with fake blood than when they came in.
A big fear we’d had during the first half of tour was the massive rainstorms coming into Texas. As we headed there, we were promised by the meteorologists that we would be getting the few dry days Texas had in weeks. What they didn’t mention was the horrible humidity that would be killing us as we loaded into Houston’s own Fitzgerald’s Theater. Are we California wimps? Surely. Does it suck to load in a full stage show up stairs in sweltering heat and 100% humidity? Surely.
It’s all becoming a hazy blur… I really bungled my self-appointed position as blogger extraordinaire this last tour. I didn’t write down shit. Was there lots of downtime? Yes. Was I tired a lot? Yes. Did I figure out how Hulu works on my phone so I could watch a bunch of Venture Brothers? Oh yes. Looking at this tour pass, I realize my folly to try and remember it all later.
But attempt to remember it, I shall. How I wish I had recorded my touringest years of 2008-2010, even just a little bit. So here goes… I had gone into work early to finish my Faith No More poster. I churned it out in record time, because Sean had been a tad upset in a text exchange the night before when I reminded him I had work on the day we were to leave tour. Still, I got done fast and showed up at the allotted hour to load the trailer and… those mooks were still painting costumes. It would be four or so more hours until we finally left Oakland. And those fucking costumes still weren’t finished.
Tampa, Florida. What kind of bat-shit insane place protects feral chickens that are a god damned invasive species in the first place? A $5,000 fine awaits any poor fool that fouls with these fowls. This is either a side-effect of the heat or the bath salts.
Nevertheless, we had a great time at the Orpheum. The staff seemed a bit nervous about our antics, but the owner really came through and let us stage all our ridiculous shit in otherwise verboten rooms. I know it’s unexciting, but it was another damn smooth show. What the fuck am I even supposed to write about at this point? Ooh, yay, another smooth day on tour. How fucking exciting. Then we went to Atlanta.
This has been a busy, busy tour. The kind of stage wrangling and crafting we’re doing is pushing our limits. And driving all the god damned time has really put a crunch in my writing. But here I am, about half way through tour, speeding through the swampy mess of Florida ready to bath salts and leave a baby in a hot car. This is sure to be TLDR.
We started tour prep back in February, writing up a list of new props to build, things to buy, and songs to learn. Half way through tour, we’re still trying to check off some stuff from that list. Props are being modified, shit is being bought, and songs have actually been learned during sound checks. One of the biggest things we bought was Rosie, the 6×12 trailer that bafflingly is still filled to the brim just like our old, smaller trailer. On the plus side, when it’s empty, it’s become a back stage at a couple venues. Why buy? We had the savings in our personal accounts and we can just sell the damn thing when we get home. Having capital is the only way to increase it.